Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On Excess


A few years ago, in a little bar and grill in Charleston, SC, whilst escaping the swelter by sipping a refreshing glass of Sauvignon Blanc, I saw this bumper sticker slapped up on the wall: Excess in Moderation. Oooh. Excess in moderation... I like that. You see, I’m quite a fan of a little excess now and then. More is more, as my mom and Meryl Streep like to say. If a little of something is good, then a lot of it must be very good. You should see my Christmas tree.

Salt. Butter. Cream. Bacon. Sunshine. Oysters. Pink Champagne. Cashmere. Chocolate sea salt caramels. Foie gras. Good books, music and art. George Clooney. See what I mean? Would you really want “only a little” of any of these things? I like decadence. In abundance.

One of the fun things about my job is that, since we are a wholesaler, I get to sell things in nice, big quantities. It is deeply satisfying to put in orders for one hundred and fifty customized Pulltap’s corkscrews. Forty-eight Big Red Wine Glasses. Two dozen Show Stoppers. Seventy-two Haley’s Corkers. One hundred Italian Flip Top Stoppers. Thirty-six Afterglow bottle wicks. I like big numbers. They make me happy! I’m serious. There are five kids in my house. More is more.

And we are getting ready to embrace another big number: 2010. Twenty-ten! Can you believe it? A brand new year. A brand new decade. And it’s happening this week. So much potential. So much promise. At Oenophilia, we’re already in the throes of choosing new products for Spring: cool gadgets, beautiful racks, new twists in glassware. I can’t wait. We’re also attempting to more fully utilize the networking capabilities of Twitter and Facebook in the coming year, and you may view our pages on these sites without creating an account yourself. See the links below. I hope you’ll take a look, and let me know what you think.

I’m looking forward to doing business with you in the New Year. May it be fun and profitable for all of us – in a very BIG way.

A

Monday, December 14, 2009

'tis the Season


Oh what fun it is to open a few fantastic bottles of wine.
(L-R: Vinho Verde 2008; Vina Sastre "Pago de Santa Cruz" Gran Reserva 1999; M. Chapoutier Hermitage 1990; Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Cabernet 1991; Royal Tokaji Aszu "5 Puttunyos" 1983.)
Now that's what I call a party! I had to break out the camera.

A

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And Awaaayy We Go (re-post)

So. It was gently suggested to me by, um, my boss that I start a blog. I hadn't thought of that. But I do like to send emails to my customers and fellow wine lovers, and he thought maybe I could post them in a blog-type forum. I'm getting things set up here today, and I'll post some previous missives to get you started. Let me know what you think... I've never done this before!

A

emailed December 9, 2009

December 9th already? I swear I can still taste the stuffing and gravy. But, really, I for one am rushing headlong into holiday bliss. This coming weekend I will be fully immersed in oyster-slurping, Champagne-sipping, cookie-baking, tree-trimming, egg-nogging festivities with family and friends. The next weekend it will be North Carolina barbeque and California Cab with my dad, lasagna and sweet tea with my grandmother, empanadas and margaritas with my mom. Oh, and presents. Lots of presents! Then we pack up the kids and head to the beautiful SC coast for a few days over Christmas. And somewhere in there has to be shopping, wrapping, cleaning and packing. Oh, yes. And work.

Except – lucky me! – work feels incredibly like an extension of the seasonal jollity. As in the rest of my life, I’m running around more than usual here. (Oenophilia is full-tilt. All day long.) Singing holiday songs along with Beyoncé and Burl Ives. Eating lots and lots of cookies. The guys in the warehouse are coming in early and staying late so we can still turn around orders within 24 hours. We got a new shipment of samples yesterday and another today. It felt like Christmas morning unwrapping everything. And it’s so exciting when you, my customers, call to say, “Oh my goodness! I just sold all of those [mulled wine spices, ice chillers, wine bottle puzzles, bottle bouquets, show stoppers], and how quickly can you get me some more?”

It feels like a very good time to be in the business of wine and wine accessories. People are still drinking wine. They are enjoying their wine, dammit. The special occasion is now: holiday gatherings with family and friends. I think people feel, perhaps, more rewarded right now by the wine experience than by the wine investment, and the enjoyment of wine reaffirms all of our our hopes that pleasure is OK and that good company is – without a doubt – the best wine accessory of all.

A

emailed November 25, 2009

Sometimes I can be a bit slow to embrace change. Maybe I’m cautiously skeptical. Maybe I’m just plain scared. My high school got computers when I was 16, but I refused to learn how to use one. I wanted to handwrite my ten-page Brit Lit essay from the perspective of Grendel’s mother, thank you very much.

My first dabbling was with an Apple IIe in college in 1988. In 1992, once I was earning a big teacher’s salary, I bought an Apple PowerBook. Got into emailing with America Online in 1995. Figured out Gmail in 2006. Started reading The New York Times online on a regular basis in 2007. I joined Facebook in 2008. And now, as we move into December 2009, the end of the Aughts or Naughts or whatever we’ll wind up calling the ‘00s, I have tentatively dipped a toe into the rushing waters of Twitter.

That’s right. I’m a twit. A tweeter. It’s a whole new – brave new ­­– world. I’m so thrilled it will have me. My teenage daughter doesn’t even use Twitter! Here I am downloading Tweet Deck and making TwitPics and using bit.ly and it feels good.

So I would like to invite you to follow Oenophilia on Twitter. Our username is Oenophiliacs. If you’re already on Twitter, you know what to do. If you’re not so sure about it all, it is important that you know you can participate as much or as little as you like. It only takes a few moments to create an account at www.twitter.com. You don’t have to “tweet,” and you don’t have to make your profile public, but you can “follow” Oenophilia and receive quick updates about products and promotions and random fun stuff. For us, it’s a great way to convey information to our customers. Keep the lines of communication open, if you will.

We’re just getting started. Waking up and smelling the potential. I see this as a great tool, but only if we can reach a large number of people. Our first ever Oenophilia Twitter promotion will be announced on December 1, and it will go through the end of the month. Tell me, what do you think?

A

emailed October 27, 2009

I know, I know. It’s only a matter of days before the costumed hordes arrive at your door to shake you down for Reese’s cups and super sour Gummi worms. You’ve got a lot on your mind right now, I’m sure. Like costumes. What should you be? Vampire/Stripper? Nurse/Stripper? Strawberry Shortcake/Stripper? Michael Jackson? (When he was alive, people!) And what to pass out to all the trick-or-treaters? I’ve got a tip for you: ixnay on the aisinsray. How about what wine goes best with caramel apples. Try the Vouvray Moelleux. 1990. Huet, please. ’K? Can we move on, now?

Good, because while the rest of the country may be preoccupied with visions of jack o’lanterns dancing in their heads, you should be thinking about flutes. Champagne flutes. The holidays are almost here! The season of cheers and toasts will soon be upon us. I like toasting. Really, I’m a big fan. And it doesn’t have to be anything especially poignant or involving heavy sentiment or an abundance of fifty-cent words.

Toasts are fairly universal. From Hungary ("Egészségedre") to Iran ("Be salahmatie") to Switzerland ("Zum Wohl") to Greece ("Yia mas"), it is common to drink to “Good health.” And sometimes the toast is inspired by the sound made by the cups (“Chin Chin” in Argentina and France, "Tchim-tchim" in Portugal and Brazil, and "Topa!" in the Basque Country. Or it can be an actual celebration of the cups (“Gan Bei” in China and "Skål!" in Iceland, Norway and Sweden.) Just be sure to look your fellow celebrants in the eye.

I am also a big fan of Champagne. Cava. Prosecco. Give me sparkling. Frizzante. A little bubbly-bubbly. Exuberance in a bottle. Celebration in a glass. And the glass does matter. This holiday season, try our Oenophilia Perfect Stemware Champagne flutes. Beautiful and durable, and at just $3.00 per stem you can afford to have plenty on hand. Talk about a treat.

We also carry the Stöelzle Grandezza collection, and I can special order from their other collections of lead-free crystal stemware. Just let me know how I may be of assistance.

Repeat after me:

“Salud!”

“Pura vida!”

Or as those crazy Brits like to say,

“Bottoms up!”

A

emailed September 17, 2009

My sister-in-law has begun her holiday shopping. She’ll be done before Halloween. I swear. And she will wrap up the wrapping by Thanksgiving. It’s not like she has lots of time on her hands, either. She’s married, owns a home, works full-time and has a significant commute to boot. And it’s not like she’s living in some wintery clime where you can’t help but have visions of sugarplums starting October first. She is a Southerner.

I’m not in holiday mode yet, for sure. I killed a mosquito at my desk this morning. And injured myself slightly in the process. Hey, it’s still sandal weather here in beautiful Orange County, NC. I mean, I’m still drinking cold, refreshing white wine in the evenings. In the air conditioning!

The holiday season seems to sneak up on me every year. But you shouldn’t let it catch you off guard. We have over 50 new items, including our new beautiful, functional eco-conscious Greenophile line, featuring bamboo, jute and recycled glass. Some great gift ideas include the wildly popular Vinturi, the Vinomatico Rechargeable (!) Corkscrew and the Stiletto Cork Extractor, several stunning new Decanter styles, and the fantastic new Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Complete Wine Course. Absinthe spoons, sparkling doorknob-sized glass Show Stoppers and an array of corkscrews make perfect stocking-stuffers.

Our holiday-themed stoppers and gift bags are in limited supply and going fast. Hmm. Looks like someone is on the ball. Feel free to contact me regarding availability.

All new items are expected in stock by October 15, and many are already here. I’m taking pre-orders now. Please refer to the new Vintage 2009 ½ catalogue, which you should have received at the beginning of this month. You can also view our products online at www.oenophilia.com (new website coming very, very soon!). If only killing those damn mosquitoes were that easy.

A

And Awaaayy We Go

So. It was gently suggested to me by, um, my boss that I start a blog. I hadn't thought of that. But I do like to send emails to my customers and fellow wine lovers, and he thought maybe I could post them in a blog-type forum. I'm getting things set up here today, and I'll post some previous missives to get you started. Let me know what you think... I've never done this before!

A